Dedicated music-only system - new or used components?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Soumitro Tagore, May 13, 2003.

  1. Soumitro Tagore

    Soumitro Tagore Auditioning

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    Hi,
    I am trying to put together a music-only system for my study (room dimensions are approx 15x15). I have been auditioning for a while and here's what I was thinking of getting till recently

    CD Player: NAD c541i - $500
    Stereo Integrated Amplifier: NAD C320BEE - $400
    Speakers: B&W DM 601S3 - $450/pair

    Total cost: $1350

    However, I have been exploring audiogon over the last couple of days and see really nice equipment (used) on sale at really affordable prices (e.g. Musical Fidelity A3 CD player on sale for $600).

    What do you guys think? Is buying used equipment a good idea? Also, what used (or new) player/amp/speakers combination would you recommend in my price range (approx $1500)?

    Note: HDCD, available on the NAD 541i is a nice-to-have but not essential. SACD/DVD-A, I have in my HT (S2300), so not essential for the study setup.

    Thanks!
     
  2. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    My thought has always been to go with used. You will almost always be able to get something that cost double originally. It takes some research, however, to determine if double means better though. In some cases it isn't necessarily true.
    Some cd players I have seen very good reviews for are the Sherwood Newcastle CD-980, original cost $550, used you can get it for anywhere from $100-$200.
    Adcom GCD-700, new $750, used from $250-$400.
    ROTEL RCD-971 , new $700, used under $400.
    You mentioned a good one also.
    What I do is go to someplace like audiogon, find stuff in my price range, then do a search on google and read everything I can find.
     
  3. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    I don't consider myself a real audiophile, but I agree about buying used for items w/ minimal moving parts, especially where the technological advances have pretty much leveled off. In fact, much of my current stereo/HT setup comprise of used components, and so far so good.

    _Man_
     
  4. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Buying used is a great way to get into better gear. Do you need a tuner in the system? Would you be ok with any of the mainstream brands (Parasound, Rotel, Adcom, Acurus), or do you have certain preferences? $1500 sounds just about right [​IMG]
     
  5. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    used. by far.

    hmmm 1350? 1000 bucks on good used speakers (they are everything you know), 150 on source, 200 on integrated.

    Grow into it and upgrade later.
     
  6. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    John,

    That's a pretty extreme breakdown, no? [​IMG] OTOH, maybe that's about right since good 2-channel electronics seem a lot easier and cheaper to come by than good speakers due to the HT/DVD-A/SACD revolution. But still, if he's not planning to upgrade again real soon, the cheap electronics might not drive the nice speakers to satisfying levels.

    _Man_
     
  7. Soumitro Tagore

    Soumitro Tagore Auditioning

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    RickyT,
    Nope. Won't be needing a tuner. Its getting harder and harder to find music I like on FM/AM ,anyway.

    As for brands, I really liked the sound of NAD, Rotel, Arcam and Musical Fidelity. (SF Stereo in the Bay Area had Musical Fidelity paired with Dynaudio speakers- that sounded pretty amazing!)

    In speakers, I liked the B&Ws (601,602,604...) a lot, although I like the JBL NSP1s I have in my HT too.
     
  8. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Actually, have you considered going minimalist and just drive a power amp w/ your favorite player and a simple attenuator? That's probably what I would do if CD is the only source and I live alone.

    _Man_
     
  9. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    If CD is the only source, you might want to consider a CD player with variable out and connect it straight to an amp.

    Adcom GCD-700 CD changer with variable outs on remote (300 used) with Adcom 5300 80x2 amp (250 used) on B&W 602s or 603s would be nice. Or the Adcom changer connected straight to a pair of Paradigm Active 20 bookshelfs.

    There are many, many combos you can put together (from audiogon and ebay)!
     
  10. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    I haven't been following the CD player scene for a long time now, but does a player like the Adcom actually use good op-amps for the variable out? In the "old" days, that was a main reason NOT to use variable out from a player. People just used inexpensive, but good, clean attenuators from Niles to do the trick.

    _Man_
     

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